Texas Politicians To Homeland Security: Why Cut Aerial Support At The Border?

A Democratic representative in South Texas is teaming up with the state’s staunchly Republican Lieutenant Governor to ask the government why it’s cutting funding for air surveillance at the border.

By Rhonda FanningFebruary 3, 2016 4:05 pm

In one corner, Gov. Greg Abbott – staunch Republican originally from Wichita Falls. In the other, U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar – a longtime Democrat and Laredo native, who serves a part of south Texas that stretches from the borderlands to the suburbs of San Antonio.

On the face of it, they’re unlikely allies. Yet this week the two have formed a partnership of sorts seeking answers from the federal government, after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it’s cutting the budget in half for aerial-based border protection.

Cuellar, member of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security, talks with the Standard about border security, which he says, “should not be a Democratic or Republican issue.”

Border Patrol provides people to survey the border and the federal government can supplement with resources from the Marines or National Guard.

“The National Guard would then provide airplanes, where they provide surveillance,” he says. “So if they see suspicious activity, they will report that to somebody on the ground and then once they do that, they can send Border Patrol to that particular area.”

Cuellar says he knows DHS has the money for aerial surveillance, because he’s on the committee that approved the full funding.

“They can’t say that it’s a money issue,” he says. “If the money’s there, why are we cutting this? … Is there something that (DHS is) seeing that we’re missing?”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.